"Kim Dotcom working on his rap album"Mr Kim Dotcom (of the Kiel Dotcoms) has discovered that New Zealand politicians do not stay bribed. This is very disappointing and the Riddled staff are all sympathetic glumface when we think of his disillusionment. Mr Dotcom thought that he and Gubblement Minister John Banks had a solid business relationship built on trust, helicopter flights and birthday-party invitations, and $50,000 donations to mayoralty campaigns:
It has since emerged the pair met at least four times.Even with a well-furnished slush-fund, Banks lost the race for Mayor of Auckland, on account of people loathing his slimy little guts [this was before he was called back into Parliament, Cincinnatus-like, to prop up the current government as figurehead for the derelict ACT party]. Then Dotcom's business activities fell foul of the US
In April 2010, they had a two-hour meeting, after which Dotcom emailed Mr Banks stating: "Thank you for your call yesterday and your kind offer to help me become a resident."
The pair met again in June over lunch for two hours at the mansion with their wives.
It was at this meeting, Dotcom said, that the request for election campaign funding was made. He said the discussion about splitting the donation happened while their wives and his bodyguard and butler were present.
The third meeting was on New Year's Eve at Princes Wharf when Dotcom put on a $500,000 fireworks display.
Weeks later, Mr Banks was at Dotcom's birthday party, during which he proposed a toast to his host.
The two cheques that made up the $50,000 donation emerged yesterday. They were recorded in Mr Banks' electoral return among 45 other anonymous donations. Of those, five were for $25,000.
Meanwhile Banks was all "Dotcom? Never heard of the guy. Isn't he some sort of crim?" while the cock crowed three times:
But he said he had spoken to Dotcom on "other matters".Understandably peeved by this non-answering of desperate prison phone-calls by the recipient of his largesse, Dotcom went to the press with descriptions of how Banks had solicited a donation from him, and had explained how he should write two separate cheques so that each separately would remain below the threshold for remaining as "Anonymous" in the campaign records. This in return for Banks asking his old mate Maurice Williamson to rubber-stamp Dotcom's request to buy a few more mansions for his collection.**
In an interview in January, Mr Banks said those other matters included advice on Dotcom's OIO application and residency.
He said the advice was "just the process", and their conversation was "in total of 15 minutes, maybe 20 minutes".
Banks' subsequent stories have shifted,3 from an initial "I cannot recall any phone conversations with that shifty Dotcom guy" to "OK, now I remember a phone conversation that specifically wasn't thanking him for gifts received".
Williamson has shifted his story from "we have no record of that" to "OK, Banksie did call me, but just as an ordinary concerned member of the public who happens to have my private number, and I had to tell him that I couldn't possibly be influenced by his request".
Commenters at Dim-Post are uncertain whether the unfolding saga is best compared to a Coen Bros. film, or a Carl Hiasssen novel.
This is all a problem for Pry Minster John Key, who in the past has firmly expressed the idea that Ministers should be stood down immediately if there is even a hint of a suspicion of shonky dodgy slithery stuff with campaign donations. For Banks fills a crucial role in the Gubblement. Not so much for his single vote, but for the deniability he provides, which allows journalists to describe the Key government as "Centrist Right" even as they bring in one hard right-wing measure after another... invariably the right-wing policies are unpalatable measures forced upon them to ensure Banks' continued support. Occasionally Banks forgets what unpalatable concession he is supposed to demand next and Key has to remind him. But I digress.
Since this strategy of arms-length deniability has served so well, Key has also out-sourced the Tough Decision of whether Banks still enjoys his confidence and should retain his ministerial portfolio & nice office & letterhead stationary. He has assurances from
Asked if he was happy for ministers to act unethically as long as they complied with the law, Mr Key said: “There is quite a wide definition of ethics … The test I have to apply is the law.”Some would say that you need less opining and more vouchsafing, if "His actions might have been legal" is the most eloquent defense you can make on behalf of your subordinate. We are glued to our old steam radios with bated ears awaiting the next episode. It is like waiting for the other shoe to drop when you are living in the apartment underneath the Human Centipede.[...]“A number of legal experts have opined that he may well have complied with the law.”
------------------------------------------------* In a dawn raid, with two black helicopters and a total of 76 police and armed offenders squad officers; "as well as four FBI agents who assisted with the inquiry, but not the raid itself."
** Maurice did initially approve the request, before it was vetoed by another Minister on the request of the US government.
3 See Imperator Fish.